High School Chemistry – Living Books or Text…

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  • missceegee

    DD15 will take Chemistry next year in 10th grade, that much I know. What I’ve not decided is what curriculum or book list I want to use. She is unsure of her future, but as of now has expressed an interest in the military and possibly nursing. She struggles with math, but is completing MUS Algebra I this summer.

    My goals are: enjoyable learning for which the CM options below are best for her; I also want her well prepared for college level sciences, too. She did complete Apologia Biology w/ Labs at co-op this year and finished with an A and became pretty proficient with lab reports. Self directed is definitely a plus, I steer clear of teacher intensive unless I farm it out.

    Feedback wanted on the following…

    • Spectrum Chemistry – this textbook based approach seems lighter on the text and heavier on the labs from my brief perusal. Anyone used it alone or via Landry? Thoughts?
    • DIVE Chemistry eLearning – briefly perused the site and know next to nothing
    • CM Chemistry with booklist with 40 week plan – http://gracefulthought.blogspot.com/p/biology-w-living-books-guide.html?m=1  ; Intentionally has little to no math. Is this enough for a full high school chem. credit? What about labs and lab reports?
    • CM Chemistry Book ideas without plan – http://sabbathmoodhomeschool.com/charlotte-mason-living-science/chemistry-books/  – this is a great booklist, but I do not have the desire/ability to piece it all together on my own right now. Has anyone made a plan using this? Thoughts? Feedback?
    • Landry Two Day Lab Intensive is definitely a possibility for more labs

    Is the lack of math in the CM options above an issue for a college bound student, perhaps one entering nursing?

    I’m torn because I took Chemistry and AP Chemistry in High School and then took Chemistry and whatever was the next Chemistry in college and honestly I recall very little. I remember enjoying the subject, but that the courses were hard. I know I would have loved the living books!


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feedback!



    Hi Christie! Good to see you around. 🙂

    I think that all of those are good choices. As far as lab reports go, it’s only necessary that our children cover that at some point, not that they do them in a regular basis. If lab reports are important to you, you can always find a generic lab report form and buy a lab kit or find some online labs.

    A friend of mine used Spectrum Chemistry with her son and both of them liked it. I will ask her more when I see her this Friday.

    As far as the lack of math goes, I don’t see that being a problem unless your daughter wants to go to a university that’s a bit more selective than your average uni.



    Richele Baburina

    Hi Christie,

    I emailed you if you want to give me a call regarding my research in the high school sciences.  I’m unsure if I have your current email address though.




    Thanks, Melanie.  Richele, I’ll give you a call soon.


    Richele-Oh please post your thoughts here! I would love to know what you’ve discovered in your research into this area. 🙂


    I’m contemplating this plan and schedule-seems like a good balance of textbook/living books and labs.


    Thanks, Threekidsmom. I’ll check that, too.



    Here’s what we did for chemistry: https://lettersfromnebby.wordpress.com/tag/chemistry/

    i love living books for high school science. Love Landry labs too.


    Thanks, ladies! I’ve decided to go with living books using one of the more planned out options listed or mentioned above (not sure which yet) plus a Landry Two Day Lab Intensive with a friend. I think it will work very well! I appreciate you guys helping me think it through.


    Glad you’ve narrowed your choices down a bit! Let us know how things go.


    Chemistry for 10th Grade DD

    4 days per week for 1-1.5 hours per day. 36 weeks. Independent study for dd with little input from me other than discussion, checking notebook, answering questions as needed.

    I used CM Chemistry with booklist with 40 week plan – http://gracefulthought.blogspot.com/p/biology-w-living-books-guide.html?m=1  as my base, but I dropped a couple of things, added a couple of things and this is what I have now. I redid the whole wonderful schedule which meant I made a lot of work for myself, but it should work better for us time wise.

    I’m a little teeny bit concerned it’s still too much, but it all looks good, so I’m unsure what I would cut, maybe Homework Helpers if I have to. Thoughts are welcome!

    • Mondays
      • The Joy of Chemistry by Cobb and Fetterolf (Read & narrate in science notebook.)
      • Homework Helpers: Chemistry by Curran, selections (Read lesson, answer questions in science notebook, check answers.)
      • The Periodic Kingdom by P.W. Atkins – term 3 only (Read & narrate in science notebook)
    • Tuesdays
      • The Story of Science: Einstein Adds a New Dimension by Joy Hakim (Read & narrate in science notebook.)
      • Exploring the World of Chemistry by Tiner, 4 selections during term 1 (Read and narrate in science notebook. )
    • Wednesdays – LAB DAY
      • Joy of Chemistry Demos (Complete Lab Demos. Narrate w/ sketches, diagrams, etc. in science notebook. 1 formal lab report per term, student choice)
      • Napoleon’s Buttons by Couteur & Burreson
    • Thursdays
      • High School Chemistry, 2nd Ed. DVD from The Great Courses (Read outline. Watch lecture. Answer study guide questions/problems in science notebook.)
      • That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles by Dr. J. Schwarcz, selections (1-2 selections per week – Read and narrate in science notebook)
    • Two Day Landry Academy Chemistry Lab Intensive in November.
    • Elements (not all) – Reference/Study
      • iPad Apps – The Elements in Action, The Elements Flashcards, Molecules by Theodore Gray
      • Elements of Faith: Vol. 1 by Duncan, selections
    • FREE Reads
      • Uncle Tungston by Oliver Sacks
      • Molecules of Murder by John Emsley
      • The Wonder Book of Chemistry by Jean Henri Fabre
    Karen Smith

    Though the Joy of Chemistry is a very readable book that gives the concepts of chemistry without the burden of the math, be aware that it is steeped in evolutionary assumptions, particularly Part 2.


    Karen, thank you for the heads up.  I will read through that one in particular.  I didn’t find any other books similar so I think I’ll keep it in, but be prepared to discuss.


    FYI. Sabbath mood Homeschool has a high school chemistry curriculum coming out this year. They just posted about it, so you might look. She will send everything before you need it.  I just checked out the book from the library to read through though we are not near HS yet.


    I saw it, but it is for 33 lessons with the intention of more over time to spread over the years. Because of the track we’re on with this dd, a one year course works better. The spine she suggests is one we’re planning to use, too.

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